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What Happens When One Parent Refuses to Follow a Custody Order?

Posted on in Child Custody and Visitation

California child custody attorneySometimes getting court-ordered custody is the easy part. What parents find out in the aftermath of their day in court is that a child custody order sometimes has to be enforced by the courts.

When one parent refuses to follow any aspect of an order, it can affect the parents, other family members, and most importantly the children.

Examples of Ways Parents Disobey Custody Orders

  • Routinely late for child drop offs or pickups;
  • Demands on keeping the child for overnight visits, in contravention of the court’s order;
  • Speaks ill of you or your family in front of the child; and
  • Schedules activities for the child during the other parent’s time.

Steps You Can Take

You should only pursue action if the parent is not following the custody order in a significant way. If there is not a pattern of disobedience of the order, or if the refusal to follow is not serious, typically a court will not step in to referee the dispute. In fact, a court may hold repeated minor complaints against the complaining parent.

This is why it is important to keep a log of each time the other parent does not follow the custody order. Keep and texts or emails that can be used as documentation. Write down anyone who may be witness to the problematic behavior.

The next step may be to request that your attorney draft a letter to the other parent. The letter can detail the incidents and outline the next steps that may be taken in court. This letter can also be important for a court to see as evidence that you are attempting to resolve custody disputes prudently.

If these steps do not resolve the problem, the parties may go back to court. A court might modify the custody order to better suit the needs of the child.

As a last resort, you may be in a situation where an enforcement and or contempt action is warranted. As opposed to a request for enforcement, a contempt action may result in punishment for the parent held in contempt is serious and may include jail time. If you want to pursue this course of action, you should retain a lawyer as these actions are difficult to prove since the stakes are so high.

Finally, if you believe that the other parent may have kidnapped the child, you should call the police as soon as possible.

Contact a Los Gatos/Sunnyvale Child Custody Attorney

If your ex is not following the court’s order, you should act quickly. Usually, the situation will not get better, and sometimes your ex will just get more brazen.

Call the Los Gatos/ Sunnyvale child custody lawyer at the Ventresca Law Firm today at 408-395-8822 to schedule your initial meeting with our office.



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